People are still complaining that affordable .22 LR rimfire ammo can’t be found. Well folks, we found some. Just call Bullets.com or Midsouth Shooter’s Supply and get yourself some Norma Tac-22 or Match-22. This is good stuff, at reasonable prices. Check out this review of Tac-22 by rimfire specialist .22 Plinkster. This Norma ammo won’t win rimfire benchrest matches, but it is plenty good enough for fun shooting, offhand practice, and tactical rimfire games.
.22 Plinkster Review of Norma Tac-22 Ammunition
Summary by .22 Plinkster (see 4:30 time mark): “I’m pretty impressed with it … I think it’s a really good deal. For six dollars and fifty cents [per box] you can’t go wrong with a box of this ammo. Out of a good bolt gun, this ammo will drive tacks.”
While Varget and Reloder 15 remain in short supply, you can often find IMR 4320 powder back in the shelves of local gun stores. IMR describes IMR 4320 as follows: “Short granulation, easy metering, and perfect for the 223 Remington, 22-250 Remington, 250 Savage and other medium burn rate cartridges.” This older-generation powder is more temp sensitive than the Hodgdon Extreme propellants, but in the right application, it looks to be a viable alternative for folks who can’t source Varget, Reloder 15, and even H4895.
IMR 4320 Shoots Well in the .308 Winchester
A while back, German Salazar wrote an excellent Riflemans Journal article, IMR 4320 — the Forgotten Powder. German developed IMR 4320 loads for his .308 Win Palma rifle and competed with IMR 4320-powered ammo at long range matches. German concluded that: “[IMR 4320] appears to be a very useful alternative to some of the harder-to-get powders. The load is working extremely well at 1000 yards. In the  Arizona Palma State Championship, several high placing competitors were using the 4320 load. We got sub X-Ring elevation at 1000 yards from several rifles, and that’s all I’m looking for in a Palma load.”
IMR 4320 Works for Dasher Shooter
Forum member FalconPilot shoots a 6mm Dasher with Berger 105gr Hybrids. Looking for an alternative to Varget, he decided to give IMR 4320 a try. The results were good. FalconPilot reports: “I’ve been looking for other options (besides Reloder 15, which I love, but it’s really dirty). While at a gun shop in Ohio, I ran across 8 pounds of IMR 4320. I had never even heard of it, much less tried it. Getting ready for upcoming mid-range shoots, I loaded five rounds with IMR 4320 to the exact same specs as my winning Varget loads for the 6mm Dasher. This recipe was 32.7 grains of powder, Wolf SMR primer, Berger Hybrid 105 jumped fifty thousandths.” Falcon pilot tested his IMR 4320 load at 600 yards:
As you can see from the photo at the top of this article, FalconPilot had good results — a 1.5″ group at 600 yards. He reports: “This group was shoot during the middle of the day, mirage bad, scope set to 25X. It looks like IMR 4320 is a [very close] replacement for Varget… with a tad bit slower burn rate.” FalconPilot tell us the accuracy with IMR 4320 rivals the best he has gotten with Varget: “This gun has always shot under 2 inches [for 5 shots] at 600 yards, and most of time shoots 1.5 to 1.7 inches.”
For comparison purposes, here are Heat of Explosion and Burn Rate values from QuickLOAD for IMR 4320, and for the popular Reloder 15 and Varget powders. You can see that these powders have similar characteristics “by the numbers”:
Heat of Explosion
Burning Rate Factor
WARNING — When changing from one powder to another, always start with manufacturer’s stated load data. Start low and work up incrementally. Never assume that loads will be equivalent from one powder to another, even powders with similar burn rates.
What Other Forum Members Say:
I was using IMR 4320 in the mid 70s in my .222 Rem. Darned great powder and I never had a load that was not accurate from the .222 to .30-06 with that powder. — 5Spd
A fine powder overshadowed by the nouveau wave of “gotta have the newest — make me a better shot” powders. Try 4320 in a 22-250 — what a well-kept secret! IMR 4320 meters very well and is a flexible alternative to many of the hard-to-find powders so much in demand. — AreaOne
IMR 4320 was my “go to” powder in my .223 for many many years. This powder and Winchester 55gr soft point bulk bullets (the cheapest bullet I could buy at the time) accounted for thousands of prairie dogs, coyotes, and anything else that needed shooting. I still use IMR 4320 in some .223 loads and am very happy with it still. — pdog2062
I’ve been using it in a .308 Win for several years. I think it is very sensitive to temperature and always waited till the last minute to load my ammo with a close eye on the weekend forecast at the range. IMR 4320 Works pretty good for 155gr Palma and 168gr Hybrid [bullets] in my .308. — JayC
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You’ve heard the rumors of a new ultra-high BC 7mm bullet from Berger. Well the rumors are true. Berger is now shipping test samples of its new 195-grain 7mm Elite Hunter Bullet, part # 28550. This bullet boasts jaw-droping 0.755 G1 and 0.387 G7 Ballistic Coefficients. Those are stunningly high numbers. Compare that to 0.674 G1 and 0.345 G7 BCs for the previous BC king amoung 7mm projectiles, Berger’s own 180 gr Match Hybrid Target.
We’re certain the “orange box” 195gr Elite Hunter will soon see use by F-Open competitors. This ultra-high BC projectile could be a “game-changer” in long-range shooting when used in cartridges such as the 7mm RSAUM, 7mm WSM and even bigger 7mm magnums. Recommended barrel twist rate is 1:8.3″, with a stated “minimum” twist of 1:9″.
We ran some numbers through the JBM Ballistics program*, comparing the new 195-grainer with Berger’s popular 180gr Hybrid. The results were eye-opening. The projected drop is significantly less. Most importantly, this new 195gr bullet moves a LOT less in the wind at 1000 yards. This should translate into higher scores for F-Class shooters — that wide ‘9’ shot may stay in the ’10’ ring. In fact, based on the JBM trajectory calculation, with a 10 mph 90° crosswind, the 195gr bullet will have over SEVEN INCHES less wind drift at 1000 yards than the 180-grainer (46.0″ vs. 53.1″). That’s a big deal, a very big deal…
Drop at 800 yards: 135.5″
Windage at 800 yards: 28.0″
Drop at 800 yards: 140.9″
Windage at 800 yards: 32.2″
Drop at 1000 yards: 237.9″ Windage at 1000 yards: 46.0″
Drop at 1000 yards: 250.0″ Windage at 1000 yards: 53.1″
Drop at 1200 yards: 380.1″
Windage at 1200 yards: 69.6″
Drop at 1200 yards: 404.2″
Windage at 1200 yards: 81.2″
* Variables were set to 55.4° F, 1000′ elevation, standard Atmosphere at Altitude, 2950 fps muzzle velocity. You can use JBM Ballistics to compare at different MVs.
UPDATE from Berger
After we broke this story, Berger Bullets wanted to clarify some points. Berger explained:
“This bullet is in the testing phase and has not been officially launched. We sent this bullet out for some public testing to make sure that we had positive feedback before we moved forward with an official launch.
We want to see how it performs in multiple rifles and different chamberings.
This bullet was made for hunting purposes, we realize there are shooters who would like to take these out for target shooting, like F-Class. However, we are not certain how they will perform. If things are successful we would like to eventually launch a target version.”
The information on the label you have pictured on your article has been updated.
G7 BC: .387
G1 BC: .754
How to Get Berger’s 195gr Elite Hunter Bullets
These bullets are so new you won’t find them on the Berger Bullets website yet. As Berger explained above, these bullets are still in a final testing phase. Most of the early production runs have been sent out for testing purposes. If you have specific questions, you can send an email to Berger via this CONTACT PAGE. Otherwise you can phone Berger, Mon-Fri, at 714-441-7200. Please try the email option first.
Need name-brand bullets? Here’s a way to save 10% on Nosler, Sierra, Hornady, and Speer Bullets. Here’s how it works — this weekend only (August 28-31, 2015) Wideners.com is offering 10% off ALL Nosler, Sierra, Hornady, and Speer bullets in stock (some other bulk-brand bullets are on sale as well).
NOTE: Widener’s says “The discount will not appear on the website or on your order at checkout but will be applied when we process the order”. We suggest you print out your order and compare that with the actual charge(s) on your credit card to ensure that Widener’s did, in fact, apply the 10% discount. As they say: “Trust, but verify“. The Sale ends at 5:59 am Eastern Standard Time 8/31/15. That’s very early in the morning on Monday so we advise you to place your orders before midnight, before you go to bed on Sunday, 8/30/2015.
Sale Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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DJ’s Brass Service now offers custom case hydro-forming to your exact specs. Darrell Jones offers this service for a variety of popular cartridges: 6mm Dasher, 6mm BRX, 6mm BRDX, and 6mm Shehane. After hydro-forming your brass, Darrell can also neck-up or neck-down the cases to meet your needs. For example, if you shoot a 22 Dasher, Darrell can hydro-form the cases and then neck them down to .22 caliber. He can also turn the necks to your specs (for an additional charge).
Darrell is a hydro-forming wizard who has perfected the process over the last couple of years. He has learned a few special techniques along the way to ensure uniform case-forming. Without revealing any trade secrets, we can say the Darrell has very special dies and Darrell doesn’t use a mallet or hammer — he has a system that is much more consistent. Darrell tells us: “Many of my customers take this brass and load it ‘as is’ and go straight to a match and shoot some very nice groups.”
Hydro-forming by Darrell costs $0.60 (sixty cents) per case with a minimum order of $60. Neck-turning is an additional $0.50 (fifty cents) per case plus actual return shipping. The turnaround is usually less than five days.
With Darrell’s hydro-forming service you don’t have to buy any special dies or other equipment. Darrell says: “Simply send me the brass you need or have it dropped-shipped to me along with a fired case that has not been sized. If you need formed brass for a new build (gun not yet fired), let me know and I will size the brass to fit within .001 of a PT&G GO gauge.”
For more information, visit DJsBrass.com, or call Darrell at (205) 461-4680. IMPORTANT: Contact Darrell for shipping instructions BEFORE sending brass for processing. In a hurry, don’t have time? Just call Darrell and he’ll make something work for you.
Hydro-Forming Customer Reports
Here are testimonials from recent customers.
“Recently had Darrell Jones of DJ’s Brass Service hydro-form 6 BRX brass for me. The turn around time was very fast and the brass was to the exact specification I ask for. I actually shot the hydro-formed brass in a match [without further fire-forming]. It shot a 3.597″ — pretty amazing. Let DJ do the work for you!” — Mike Wilson (3 Time IBS Record Holder; 2013 and 2014 1000-yard IBS Shooter of the Year.)
“Darrell Jones of DJ’s Brass Service went far beyond the call of duty, to assist me in preparation to shoot for my first time in an IBS match. I have had an interest in 1000-yard competition for many years and finally got the opportunity to try it. After researching the winning competitors, rifles, and rounds I ordered a Panda action with Krieger barrel in 6mm Dasher from Kelby’s. It was one week before the match and I had a rifle and no rounds. I contacted Darrell to hydraulically form 6mm dasher from Lapua 6mm BR brass. He formed the brass and had it in the mail the next day[.] Since I have only reloaded for hunting or magazine fed rifles I was not familiar with proper seating to allow land engagement of the bullets for 1000-yard accuracy. Darrell took the time to advised me every step of the way to allow me to shoot a 3.158″ (5) shot group to win my first round of my first competitive match ever.” — Mike Youngblood
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Note, this is a limited-time offer with Free Solution (August 2015).
So, what do you do with wet cartridge brass after ultrasonic cleaning or wet-tumbling with stainless media? Most of us just dump the brass into a plastic strainer or a colander, shake the casings a little to get the water out, then let the brass air-dry on a tray. We don’t recommend drying brass in a hot oven. If, by mistake, you leave your brass in the oven too long (or set the temp too high), you may slow-anneal your brass, which can end up weakening the brass.
If you can’t wait for your brass to air-dry naturally, there is another solution. Frankford Arsenel now offers a brass dryer that can dry up to 1000 pieces of .223 Rem brass or 2000 pieces of 9mm pistol brass. Yes, here’s yet another gadget for your man cave/reloading center. This unit employs forced air convection heating to dry brass quickly without water spots. This “Platinum Series” Brass Dryer features five (5) removable drying trays so you can dry different types of brass (without mixing) at the same time. Frankford says the max air temperature in the machine is about 160° F — that won’t over-cook your brass. And the “forced air flow” system distributes heat evenly.
Frankford Arsenal Brass Dryer Features
Specifically designed to dry brass after Rotary Wet-Tumbling or Ultrasonic cleaning.
Vented trays provide optimal airflow to minimize drying time.
Top-mounted fan, circulates up to 160°F air to quickly dry the brass inside and out.
Five (5) removable trays easily dry up to 1,000 pieces of .223 brass in less than 1 hour.
Free Cleaning Solution with Frankford Arsenal Brass Dryer
Currently, Grafs.com is offering a FREE 30-oz. bottle of Ultrasonic Brass Solution with every Brass Dryer unit sold. A $15.99 value, the solution goes a long way — you mix it at a 40:1 ratio with water. And, Frankford Arsenal claims: “Our Cleaning Solutions are so strong that they can be used for multiple cleaning cycles before having to mix new solution”.
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With the increased interest in the 6.5 Grendel cartridge and Grendel-based wildcats (such as the 6mmAR and 30 Major), today we’ve re-released a review by Robert Whitley.
Robert Whitley of AR-X Enterprises, LLC builds match-grade uppers for AR-platform rifles. Many of Robert’s favorite chamberings are based on the 6.5 Grendel case necked-down to 6mm. Until 2011, Lapua was the only source for 6.5 Grendel brass. As you’d expect, Lapua’s Grendel brass is truly excellent, but it is also pricey, and sometimes hard to find. Now Hornady is producing USA-made 6.5 Grendel brass. Robert Whitley has worked with the Hornady 6.5 Grendel brass for over a year now and he is able to assess its performance compared to the original Lapua version. Writing in our Shooters’ Forum, Robert reveals: “It’s decent brass but hot loads will loosen the primer pockets fast. With moderate loads you will get good case life and service from the brass and it can deliver excellent accuracy as well. Not Lapua but not bad either.”
Robert reports: “I was able to get my hands on some of Hornady’s 6.5 Grendel brass. My big question was how it would measure up, particularly the loaded necks, and whether it would be compatible with our existing 6mmAR and Turbo 40 die sets. As it turns out, this brass looks like a perfect fit for our existing die sets (and obviously 6.5 Grendel die sets too). Accordingly, folks with existing die sets will be able to use the Hornady brass without any issues.” However, as the loaded neck on the Hornady brass is .001″ (one-thousandth) slimmer than Lapua brass, you may want to try a smaller bushing when sizing Hornady Grendel brass.
The Hornady 6.5 Grendel brass has a LARGE Flash Hole, about .078″ versus .0591″ for Lapua brass. Dimensionally, the biggest difference is the shoulder diameter, with the Hornady brass measuring 0.428″ vs. 0.424″ for the Lapua brass. The Hornady is actually a better fit for 6mmAR chambers which are about 0.432″ at the shoulder. Interestingly, case H20 capacity is virtually identical. Water capacity of new, unfired Hornady 6.5 Grendel brass is 35.1 grains, while new, unfired Lapua Grendel brass holds 35.0 grains of H20. Both brands of Grendel brass increase to about 36.0 grains H20 capacity after firing and full-length sizing.
Here are some of the particulars of the Hornady cases:
Hornady 6.5 Grendel Brass
Lapua 6.5 Grendel Brass
Flash hole diameter: ~ .078″
OAL of brass: Average 1.515″
Weight of cases: 111.7 to 113.0 grains
Web diameter, unfired: 0.4375″
Shoulder diameter, unfired: 0.428″
Loaded neck diameter: 0.2895″
6mmAR loaded neck: 0.270″
Flash hole diameter: 1.5mm (0.0591″)
OAL of brass: Average 1.515″
Weight of cases: 111.0 to 112.5 grains
Web diameter, unfired: 0.4385″
Shoulder diameter, unfired: 0.424″
Loaded neck diameter: 0.290″
6mmAR loaded neck: 0.271″
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Lapua, the Finnish maker of premium cartridge brass, bullets, and ammunition, has created a new Lapua Club for Lapua’s customers and product users. By signing up for the Lapua Club, you can get access to “members-only” data. In addition, by registering multiple products, you can get rewards such as Lapua hats and holsters. For each product registered you’ll also get a chance to win instant prizes or a Grand Prize Whitetail Hunt.
How to Sign Up for the Lapua Club
Join the Lapua Club by scanning the QR code on your 2015 Lapua ammunition box, Lapua cartridge case box, or Lapua bullet package. Use your mobile phone to read the QR code on your Lapua package(s), or go to http://www.club.lapua.com/en/campaign/lapua-club/ and directly type in the code. (NOTE: Packages that do not have a QR code may have a card in the box with the QR code.) By registering your package(s) you become entitled to exclusive Lapua Club member benefits.
NOTE: Lapua recommends that customers register each cartridge package separately. The more products you register, the more Lapua gear you can get:
By registering 5 products or more you can qualify for a Lapua Cap.
By registering 10 products or more you can qualify for a Lapua Holster.
Lapua notes: “If you have purchased multiple cartridge packages, you should register all of them separately. Each package code … gives you a chance to win instant prizes and take part in our main [contest]. Whether or not your package codes won an instant prize, each of them will also compete for the grand prize: a ticket to the Lapua White Tail Hunt 2015 event.”
Register your Lapua Products by entering the QR code on Lapua product packages.
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Ever wondered what caused a particular bulge or marking on a case? And more importantly, does the issue make the case unsafe for further use? Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Duane Siercks offers some insight into various issues and their causes in this article from the Sierra Blog.
Diagnosing Problems with Cartridge Brass
by Duane Siercks, Sierra Bullets
I was handed a small sample of .223 Rem cases the other day and was asked if I could comment on some marks and appearances that had been noticed as they were sorting through the cases. I will share what was observed and give you what would seem to be a cause for them. These were from an unknown source, so I have no way of knowing what type of firearm they were fired in or if they were factory loaded or reloaded ammunition.
Example ONE: Lake City 5.56, Unknown Year
Case #1 was seen to have a very rounded shoulder and split. Upon first look it was obvious that this round had been a victim of excess pressure. The firearm (perhaps an AR?) was apparently not in full battery, or there was possibly a headspace issue also. While taking a closer look, the primer was very flat and the outside radius of the primer cup had been lost. High pressure! Then I also noticed that there was an ejector mark on the case rim. This is most certainly an incident of excessive pressure. This case is ruined and should be discarded. See photo below.
Example TWO: Lake City Match 1993
Case #2 appears very normal. There was some question about marks seen on the primer. The primer is not overly flattened and is typical for a safe maximum load. There is a small amount of cratering seen here. This can be caused by a couple of situations.
Cratering is often referred to as a sign of excess pressure. With safety in mind, this is probably something that should make one stop and really assess the situation. Being as there are no other signs of pressure seen with this case, I doubt that pressure was unsafe. That leads us to the next possibility. This can also be caused by the firing-pin hole in the bolt-face being a bit larger than the firing-pin, and allowing the primer to flow back into the firing-pin hole causing the crater seen here. This can happen even with less-than-max pressures, in fact it has been noted even at starting loads. Always question whether pressure is involved when you see a crater. In this situation, I lean toward a large firing-pin hole. This case should be safe to reload.
Example THREE: R-P .223 Remington
Case #3 appears normal with one exception. There are two rings seen about one half inch below the base of the shoulder. These rings are around the circumference of the case, one being quite pronounced, and the other being noticeably less.
As we do not know the origin of the firearm in which this case was fired, it does seem apparent that the chamber of the firearm possibly had a slight defect. It could have been that the reamer was damaged during the cutting of this chamber. I would suggest that the chamber did have a couple of grooves that imprinted onto the case upon firing. This firearm, while maybe not dangerous should be looked at by a competent gunsmith. In all likelihood, this case is still safe to use.
Example FOUR: R-P .223 Remington
Case #4 has no signs of excess pressure. There is a bulge in the case just ahead of the case head that some might be alarmed by. This bulge is more than likely caused by this case being fired in a firearm that had a chamber on the maximum side of S.A.A.M.I. specifications. There is actually no real issue with the case. Note that the primer would indicate this load was relatively mild on pressure.
If this case was reloaded and used in the same firearm numerous times there might be a concern about case head separation. If you were going to use this case to load in an AR, be sure to completely full-length re-size to avoid chambering difficulties. This case would be safe to reload.
CLICK HERE for MORE .223 Rem Case Examples in Sierra Blog
It is very important to observe and inspect your cases before each reloading. After awhile it becomes second nature to notice the little things. Never get complacent as you become more familiar with the reloading process. If ever in doubt, call Sierra’s Techs at 1-800-223-8799.
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Need a boatload of bullets for varmint safaris, or high-volume AR-platform training sessions? Then check out this deal from Midsouth Shooters Supply. Right now you can get six THOUSAND .22-Cal 55gr softpoint bullets for $463.66 delivered. That works out to just $7.73 per 100 bullets. And yes, for a limited time, that price includes FREE Shipping (through August 28, 2015). If you have high-volume applications for .224-diameter projectiles, this deal is hard to beat. You could easily pay two to three tiems as much (per hundred) for similar bullets elsewhere. Buying in bulk saves big bucks.
These 55g Soft Point bullets are made by Hornady. The G1 Ballistic Coefficient (BC) is 0.243. Hornady says these bullets have a “match-grade jacket design” and offer “explosive expansion, even at low velocities”. NOTE: Midsouth also offers Hornady FMJ 55gr 22-cal bullets at low bulk prices.
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What if you could see a speeding bullet in the milliseconds it exits the muzzle of a pistol? How cool would that be… Well, the Mythbusters folks (Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman) have made that possible. Using an exotic Phantom super-high-speed camera running at 73,000 frames per second, the Mythbusters recorded a .45 ACP bullet being fired from a 1911-type handgun.
Watch Mythbusters Super-Slow-Motion Pistol Video:
What unfolds is spectacular. First you see a ball of flame as the bullet emerges from the barrel of the 1911, then two distinct, separate swirling clouds form as the bullet races toward the target. Watch the video a couple times — it’s mesmerizing.
Co-host Adam Savage is nearly rendered speechless by the remarkable slow-motion footage from the Phantom. Filmed at 73,000 frames per second, the video reveals a dance of pressure and fire that would otherwise be missed by the unaided eye.
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Top Shot Champion Dustin Ellermann has been busy up in Wyoming slaying varmints. On his Facebook Page, Dustin wrote: “I’ve been helping some ranchers out with their prairie dog infestation in Wyoming. The 17 HMR Volquartsen Custom is amazing! The Meopta Sports Optics R1r is super nice as well. Can you guess how many prairie dogs I eliminated in two days?” (Facebook users post guesses HERE.)
Dustin says the effective range of the 17 HMR is farther than one might expect: “I made hits out to 300 yards. 200 yards was easy as long as the wind wasn’t too bad.”
Dustin was very impressed with the 17 HMR cartridge: “Never paid it much attention before now because the ammo is five times more expensive than .22 LR and I mostly target shoot. However, for prairie dogs, the 17 HMR is amazing!” Dustin is now a fan of the speedy rimfire round. Consider this — Hornady’s 17 HMR ammo pushes a 17gr V-Max bullet at 2550 fps, twice as fast as typical .22 LR rounds.
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Applied Ballistics has created a new series of YouTube videos about precision long range shooting. Featuring ace long-range shooter and professional ballistician Bryan Litz, these videos will address various topics of interest to long-range marksmen. In this week’s video, the first in the series, Bryan Litz answers the question, “Just What Is Long Range Shooting?” Bryan discusses how we define “long range” and the key factors shooters need to consider.
Applied Ballistics Video — What Is Long Range Shooting?
Bryan states: “I don’t think there is a clear definition of where Long Range starts.” But he offers this practical guideline: “The way I think of it, any time you’re making major adjustments to your zero in order to hit a target, due to gravity drop and wind deflection, THEN you’re getting into ‘Long Range’. For example, if you are zeroed at 100 yards and need to shoot to 600 yards, you have many feet of elevation [drop] to account for, and to me, that’s where it becomes Long Range.”
Extended Long Range and the Transonic Zone
Bryan adds a second concept, namely “Extended Long Range”. Litz says that: “Extended Long Range starts whenever the bullet slows to its transonic range. As the bullet slows down to approach Mach 1, it starts to encounter transonic effects, which are more complex and difficult to account for, compared to the supersonic range where the bullet is relatively well-behaved.” Bryan notes that bullets start to encounter transonic effects at about 1340 fps, quite a bit faster than the speed of sound, which is about 1116 fps at sea level in normal conditions (59° F).
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One of the most commonly-asked questions on our Shooters Forum is “what diameter bushing should I use with my neck-sizing die?” While we recommend that users obtain at least two bushings, you still have to know where to start. For hunting ammo and gas guns, we still recommend choosing a bushing that is 2 or 3 thousandths smaller than the neck diameter of a loaded round. However, in a bolt-action benchrest gun, you may well get superior accuracy with less neck tension. A while back Larry Isenhour set a spectacular 50-5X, 600-yard IBS record using very light tension — Larry employed a .268″ bushing for a .2695″ loaded round.
How to Select the Right Neck Bushing for your Cartridge Brass:
A while back, we discussed neck bushings during a visit to the Redding Reloading booth at the NRA Annual Meeting. In the video above, Patrick Ryan of Redding explains how to measure your cartridge brass and select the proper bushing diameter. Please note that Redding has changed its recommendations for benchrest neck sizing in recent years. Redding now recommends that benchresters start with a bushing that yields slightly less grip on the bullet.
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Intro: Ron Dague wanted a new gun that was similar to his trusty .223 Rem rifle, but which fired 6mm bullets. There is a superb choice of bullets in this caliber, and Ron found that the 95gr Berger VLD could be driven to a healthy 2,604 fps by the small .223 Rem case. This 6mm wildcat based on the common .223 Rem offers excellent accuracy and very low recoil — something very important in the cross-the-course discipline. In addition, Ron’s 95gr load with Reloder 15 delivered an ES of just 4 fps over ten shots. That exceptionally low ES helps achieve minimal vertical dispersion at 600 yards.
I already had a .223 Remington match rifle, and I wanted the 6mm-223 to be as close to the same as I could make it. I installed the barreled action in a wood 40X stock to work up load data and work out any magazine feeding issues. While I was working on that, I looked for a McMillan Baker Special stock and finally found one to finish this project. I bedded the action and stock, then took the rifle to the range to check zeros on the sights and scope. I was surprised that I didn’t have to change anything on the sights. I thought changing the stock would cause sight changes. The thought went through my head, “Maybe the 40X stock isn’t all that bad”.
Here’s line-up of 6mm bullets. The Berger 95gr VLD is in the middle.
I took the new rifle to the first match of the year, a National Match Course match, and my off-hand score was 83, rapid sitting 95, rapid prone 95, and slow fire prone 197 — for total aggregate 470. This may not be my best work, but on match day the wind was blowing about 15 mph and the temp was around 40° F, with rain threatening. This was a reduced course of fire — we shot at 200 and 300 yards on reduced targets.
I used 70gr Berger bullets for this match, loaded in Remington brass with 25 grains of VihtaVuori N540 and Federal 205M primers. When I worked up loads for this rifle, N540 gave the best accuracy with the best extreme spread — 2,950 fps with an extreme spread of 20 fps on a 10-shot string. The load for 600 yards was with a 95gr Berger VLD bullet, with 23.0 grains of Reloder 15, Lapua cases, and the same Federal 205M primers. This load is 2,604 fps, with an extreme spread of 4 fps over a 10-shot string. I’ve shot this load at several 3×600 yard matches, and the accuracy has proven to be very good. At the last 3×600 match, my scores were as follows: 199-10x and 198-11X with scope, and 193-10X with iron sights. Best 600-yard score so far with iron sights was 198-12X.
6mm-223 Rem Rifle Specifications: 700 BDL action and floor plate, Bartlein 6mm 1:8″ twist, McMillan Baker Special stock in Desert Camo, Centra front and rear sights, Ken Farrell bases with stripper clip guide, Sinclair hand stop, and Jewell trigger. Gunsmith Neil Keller helped me with the metal work and instructed me on the action work and rebarreling.
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Forum member Alex W. (aka “zfastmalibu”) came up with a clever adaptation of an item you may already have on your kitchen counter. By drilling a few strategically-placed holes in a wood knife-holding block, Alex created a handy, 20-round ammo holder for the bench. We’re not sure the wife will appreciate the new holes in her kitchen accessory, but we think this is a smart invention. Alex asked fellow Forum members: “What do you think, is there a market for it?” We think there is. Of course, with a ruler and an electric drill you could probably make your own version easily enough.
Get a Solid Wood Knife Block for under $25.00 Beechwood Knife blocks can be purchase for under $25.00 through Amazon.com. They are also available in solid walnut wood ($29.99), cherry wood ($29.99), and Bamboo wood ($29.99).
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More guns… more guns than ever. That’s what U.S. gun-makers have been cranking out. According to the latest BATFE Fireams Commerce Report, American gun manufacturers produced over ten million guns in 2013, the last full reporting period. That’s an all-time record.
The 2013 total of 10.885 million guns produced in 2013 represents a 27% increase over the 8.579 million guns made in 2012. What’s even more surprising, the 2013 total is nearly double the quantity product just three years before in 2010 — 5.459 million firearms. Any way you look at it, that’s a huge increase in firearms production in a very short time.
As a category, pistols (primarily semi-auto, and not counting revolvers) have seen the largest increase in production, rising from 662,973 in 1986 to 4,441,726 in 2013. Notably the number of wheelguns produced has actually declined from 761,414 in 1986 to 725,282 in 2013.
In recent years there has been a significant growth in the number of shotguns sold, due to increased consumer interest in scatterguns for sport and defense. The number of shotguns sold topped did break the million mark in 2013, rising from 949,010 in 2012 to 1.203 million in 2013, and increase of 27%.
There has also been a significant growth in NFA items sold over the last dozen years, lead by a huge increase in the number of suppressors. In fact, as we reported last week, from 2014 to 2015, the number of NFA-registered suppressors rose from 571,150 to 792,282. That’s a 39% increase in just one year! There are now nearly 800,000 suppressors now registered in the USA.
As far as we can tell, the first-ever formal benchrest shooting match took place in 1944 at the Tacoma Rifle & Revolver Club in Tacoma, Washington. Known today as the “Sniper King Competition”, this is still a popular event, drawing top shooters from around the country.
Our friend Lou Murdica bested the competition this year to win the Sniper King competition and Benchrest shooting’s oldest trophy. Take a look at that target. That’s a TEN-Shot group at TWO hundred yards. That works out to 0.1299 MOA for ten shots. That’s might impressive…
We have to give Lou credit for his shooting skills and loading spectacularly accurate ammo. Lou was running a Kelbly action, Shilen Barrel, and March scope. He loaded 6mm Berger 65gr BT bullets driven by Accurate LT 30 powder.
Have you ever shot a smaller TEN-shot group, even at 100 yards? If so, tell us about that, by posting a comment below.
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For centerfire ammo, you can choose from dozens of flip-top boxes, storage bins, or milsurp-style ammo cans. For rimfire ammo, there are not so many good choices. Our preferred rimfire ammo carrier is the MTM SB-200 Small-Bore Fitted Ammo Box. This flip-top plastic box holds 100 rimfire rounds in 10×5 black grids on the left and right. In the center is a storage area that will hold another 100 rounds in factory boxes. MTM’s SB-200 box was recently re-designed so it will now hold 17 HMR rounds, as well as 17 Mach 2, 22 short, 22 Win Mag Rimfire, and of course 22 Long Rifle (.22LR)
MTM Case-Gard 200 Round Smallbore Box
This is really the only product of its kind on the market. It allows you to conveniently and securely hold 200 rimfire rounds, and also segregate your ammo by brand or bullet type. These boxes fit all types of popular rimfire ammunition. The vertical clearance of the lid is sufficient to hold the longer .22 WMR Rounds, and 17 HMR (as well as .22 LR naturally). The lid fits securely so you don’t have to worry about your rimfire ammo spilling out on the way to the range.
If you don’t have one of these boxes yet, we recommend you order one or two. They cost less than $15.00 and are available in Blue or “Rust” (a brick color).
Welcome to the wacky world of Municipal Anti-Gun Ordinances. San Francisco and Los Angeles have city-specific magazine bans and gun storage requirements, and now it appears that Seattle may target gun owners with new “sin taxes” on firearms and ammunition.
$25 Per Gun and Five Cents Per Round
The Seattle City Council will soon vote on a new local law that will add a $25.00 surcharge to every new gun purchase. In addition, the proposed Seattle City Ordinance will add a $0.05 (five cent) fee to each and every centerfire round sold in Seattle. Rimfire .22LR rounds will be taxed $0.02 per round.
The stated purpose for the new Gun and Ammo Tax is to raise money to combat crime, according to Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess, author of the Gun Tax ordinance. Burgess told local KING-5 TV reporters that this is essentially a “Sin Tax” on guns and ammo: “We’ve been working on this for several years. Sure, I wish we would have done this 20 years ago, but we know what the problem is. We tax cigarettes and alcohol and even wood-burning stoves for public health purposes. Why not guns and ammunition?”
While supporters of the Gun and Ammo Tax, including Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, claim the new city tax would raise over $300,000 to fight crime, in reality this measure is more about getting rid of guns that it is about making Seattle safe. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has opposed the Seattle Gun and Ammo Tax, stating: “[This ordinance] will have no effect on decreasing gun violence. It is designed to place a huge burden on legitimate firearms retailers and law-abiding gun owners. Additionally, the proposed ordinance is a gross violation of Washington’s firearms preemption statute.”
Daniel Xu, writing in OutdoorHub.com notes that gun buyers already pay Excise Taxes with each purchase: “However, unlike the [Federal] Pittman-Robertson Excise Tax, which retains funds for conservation and habitat-protection efforts, the funds collected by the ordinance will go entirely back into the city for ‘gun violence research and prevention programs’. City leaders have yet to specify… how the funds will be spent.”